Night on Fire Review
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When most people think of Hawaii, they imagine the ultimate escape. On the islands, miles away from the mainland, you can forget the pressures of everyday life while you lounge under a palm tree and sip a daiquiri. But, even in paradise, crime sometimes rears its ugly head—as it does in author Douglas Corleone’s Night on Fire.

Slick young defense attorney Kevin Corvelli is sleeping off one too many mai tais in his latest one-night stand’s hotel room when a fire breaks out down the hall. Kevin manages to escape—and save a four-year-old kid in the process—but several guests don’t make it out.

The next morning, Kevin meets Erin Simms, the prime suspect in the arson case. He immediately recognizes her as the gorgeous newlywed who was fighting with her new husband in the hotel bar the night before. Erin’s husband didn’t survive the fire, and the facts are stacked against her—but something compels Kevin to take the case anyway.

  
 
Kevin left New York for Hawaii to escape the hectic life and the high-profile cases—but now all eyes are on him as he tries to defend an accused mass murderer in paradise.

It’s hard to believe that Night on Fire is only Corleone’s second Kevin Corvelli novel, since the young attorney has such a well-developed history. That’s both a good thing and a bad thing, though—because, while it gives the character depth and personality, it can also be a bit confusing for readers (especially if this is your first introduction to Corvelli, as it is mine). Corleone often references Corvelli’s past cases and characters, which can become pretty distracting for newcomers.

Still, the tropical setting will keep you reading, as will the cast of complex characters—especially Corvelli, the laid-back island transplant who will stop at nothing to get his client acquitted, even if it means bending the rules. He’s not always an easy guy to like—a shameless playboy who spends his days smooth-talking his way through cases and his nights plying beautiful tourists with drinks at the nearby hotel bar. Basically, he’s a slimeball in paradise—but Corleone gives him just the slightest soft spot to keep him from turning readers off. He may not be a likeable character, but at least he’s an interesting character.

The rest of the characters, too, have plenty of personality of their own. There are returning characters who are dealing with personal issues, as well as the various victims and witnesses and others involved in Erin’s case—none of whom seem to be entirely above suspicion. With so many suspects and so many possibilities in this tropical thriller, then, you’ll expect a really juicy ending. But while the resolution is definitely unexpected, it also feels a little far-fetched—and the conclusion leaves a few nagging holes.

If you’re looking for a literary vacation—a rum-drenched mystery to help you pass the time by the pool—Night on Fire is a decent pick. But for a courtroom thriller that’s less tropical but more cunning, pick up the latest Mickey Haller thriller instead.

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